Choosing to be Single
(I first wrote these words on September 20, 2002)
I'm not happy all the time, every day. My emotions wiggle around the entire scope, sometimes all within one day. This is true now, being single, and it was true for the 2+ years I was a polyamorous primary boyfriend, and it was true for the 7+ years I was a monogamous live-in boyfriend.
So, I'm not really talking about being "happy" single. I'm talking about something deeper than that. Being OK, or satisfied, or accepting, of being single. Except that right now I'm going even deeper, I'm talking about a commitment to being single.
Since making that commitment to the Zero Boyfriend Zone I've asked a couple people to go on "dates" with me, and a couple fellas have asked me on something resembling "dates", and I've had visitors, and I've gone to parties, and I've had sex with ... I don't keep track ... lots of fellas.
So, I'm not exactly being celibate, I'm not a hermit.
But I've made a commitment to myself -- that I'm not going to try to solve my problems, whatever my problems might be, by looking for a relationship I don't yet have, with people I don't yet know.
Along the way, I see other people trying to lift up their moods by ... looking for a boyfriend. I see people wanting a boyfriend, in some generic way, without even knowing which boyfriend they are talking about. They use a variety of methods to meet total strangers, hoping that one of these strangers will blossom into a boyfriend, dumping these strangers when they fail to develop appropriately.
I see other people going through wild mood swings depending on whether they have a new boyfriend, or whether they have just been dumped by a boyfriend.
I see debates about whether boyfriends should be monogamous, and about what sorts of ground rules are best in open or poly relationships, and about how to juggle multiple boyfriends.
I see people worrying about whether they should keep their boyfriends or dump them and try for someone better.
I see people wondering whether they've acted like a good boyfriend, or complaining that their boyfriend is not acting like he should.
I see jealousy.
There is so much activity and angst that I can avoid just by not wanting one at all!
What does a boyfriend give me that I can't get in other ways? If I want to live with somebody I can get a room-mate. If I want sex -- that certainly hasn't been a problem, people are willing to have sex with me. If I want snuggling or massage, I can get that from pets, friends, or massage therapists. If I want to go to dinner, or a movie, or play games, I have friends who'll do those things with me. I have friends who will listen to me and comfort me when I'm depressed. I have friends and family who love me.
I can get all these things without a boyfriend. So, I'm wondering what the big fuss is all about. Why have a boyfriend? Why did I spend the last 20 years of my life thinking that my life was not complete without one? My life is complete. Now.
I was talking with Roger a bit about my recent ramblings regarding relationships.
I spoke in terms of "cherry picking" and having "multiple suppliers" because "single source suppliers have too much leverage."
He suggested that people don't like to feel they are being used as suppliers, that they like to feel special, and that one reason to have boyfriends is to have somebody say "you are special".
I said, "Why can't I feel special because I think I'm special? Why should feeling special require that other people tell me I'm special?"
(Now I'm wondering why we need to feel "special" in the first place ... where does that need come from? Why can't we accept ourselves however we are?)
Roger started using his boyishly-ironic voice that I love so much, and said, "Because we live in a co-dependent society! Other people must tell us we are special!"
Feeling special ... maybe we mean feeling cared for, that we like to feel cared for, that as human beings we know that we are not 100% self-sufficient, that we need other people to help us through our rough times ...
Back when I was living monogamously with KWC I used to think about our relationship as a form of insurance, that no matter what happened, we would be there for each other. That insurance evaporated one day. After it did, I wondered whether I'd feel better or worse had he died instead of merely breaking up with me. As long as he was alive I could blame him for leaving me, eh?
But there are no guarantees. People leave, people die. We have to be able to depend on a variety of people, including ourselves. We can't always count on that one special person to always be there. We need a social network, regardless of whether we are single.
[Previous entry: "like breathing, in and out, grasping and letting go"] [TOC] [Next entry: "The Internet Did Not Create Casual Sex"]